I recently took possession of a 2004 Volvo S60. I knew it had a welded engine mount, but that it was in otherwise good working order.

This has been the case until a couple of weeks ago when I noticed a ?whine? only when turning left around ~45degree+ corners, and only at more than ~10mph. Further, if I try and turn particularly fast, I feel the wheel provide "kick back" (basically an ease up of resistance, then a strongish pulling feeling, then back to normal). The thing is this whine doesn't go away once I have straightened out (seems to continue for upwards of many minutes more), and seems to be variable tone from that point it starts, based on engine speed.

I have checked things that my slightly mechanical mind thought might be a cause (Power steering fluid, obvious signs of wear/damage to the tire "linkages" (in the wheel well)) all without a clue of what is going on. I mentioned the engine mount because it seem conceivable to me that this is related.

Does anyone know what system needs attention, and in what way?

  • Have you checked the condition of your CV shafts, and specifically, their boots? This is effectively the drive shaft that runs into the middle of the wheel. This could be caused by a dying CV, however it's also noted on a few forums that the EPS (electronic power steering) can develop a whine noise. I'd check CVs first however. – Aaron Lavers May 16 '16 at 6:45
  • Can you provide a photo of the welded engine mount as well as a description of the location of the welded mount? – DucatiKiller May 16 '16 at 8:06
  • You mentioned it happens on left turns only. I assume the right turns are Ok. Sounds like a steering rack issue to me. Dying CV joints would give feedback like thump, thump, and clicking when in turns or going straight. As the joint slowly self destructs then releases and you're stuck with no drive – Old_Fossil May 16 '16 at 21:26
  • @AaronLavers - Sorry, but what does one look for to identify bad CV boots? – user66001 May 17 '16 at 3:03
  • @DucatiKiller - Will take a picture of the weld one of the coming days. I presume you think this may be related? – user66001 May 17 '16 at 3:03

Sounds like one of the following

  1. Low Power Steering fluid, add fluid

  2. Faulty Power Steering Pump, replace pump

  3. Loose or worn Power Steering belt, adjust or replace belt

  4. Steering Rack issue, replace rack assembly

  • Thanks Moab. Could you possibly advise how to diagnose 2-4? It would be great to not have to buy/spend time fitting 2, then possibly 3, then possibly 4, when the correct part could be identified first off. – user66001 May 17 '16 at 3:12

@user66001 Apparently you can... http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/steering_rack~pop.html

Steering Rack Products

Driving down the street you notice a certain stiffness with the steering. Not the usual play that you expect, it almost seems that a bit of resistance is taking place. No matter, you continue down the road and forget about it as the problem has seemed to have gone away. The next day you start your car up and as you back out of the driveway it happens again. This time, you do everything in your power to avoid hitting your neighbor's lawn statue. There is little give in your steering. A check under your hood may reveal that your car's steering rack is the culprit. If so, you need to get it replaced before serious trouble sets in. You see, when your car is cold that is when steering rack problems are most noticeable. Eventually, as the part continues to wear your steering problem will worsen. Can you imagine being on the freeway and not being able to steer clear of something in the road. That can be dangerous, even deadly. Yes, we stock steering racks and we have one for your car. Check our online catalog and order your part today. Our web store never closes. Buying Guides


Date Published : July 30,2014

Choosing the Right Steering Rack

When it is separated from your entire steering system, the steering rack might look like a worthless metal rod. But without the steering rack, your car would not be able to maneuver through the streets. So if your steering wheel starts feeling a little loose or you suddenly notice your tires are misaligned, it's about time you replace your steering rack. Know your steering system

Since your steering rack is part of bigger system-the rack-and-pinion assembly-the type of steering rack you need would depend on the steering system you have on your car. Most cars are powered by normal rack-and-pinion steering. The steering rack for this kind of rack-and-pinion gear set is relatively easy to spot. It's a simple, lightweight rack with differently sized metal teeth. Unlike a simple steering system, a power steering system's rack has a slightly different design and contains more parts. On the middle of the steering rack, you'll find a cylinder with a piston. This piston is designed with two fluid ports to direct higher-pressure fluid to one of its side and eventually provide the power needed to steer your car. So if your car has a power steering system installed, finding the right steering rack can be more tedious. Aside from looking at the quality and fit of the rack for a power steering system, you should also inspect the fluid ports and their compatibility with your steering system's fluid lines. Purchase the entire assembly

Whether you have a normal rack-and-pinion system or a power-assisted one, be sure that your steering rack includes fittings for inner tie rods. This ensures that everything will fit perfectly with the entire system. This will also help you prevent leaks. Another advantage of purchasing the entire assembly instead of just one part is that there are no core changes made on the assembly. This eliminates the hassle of returning your old part for a core refund. So remember, when buying a new steering rack, don't just buy the rack-buy the complete assembly for a more direct fit and increased life span. Check the warranty

As with any part of your car, never purchase without a warranty. This saves you time, effort, and money if the serviced part is not functioning as expected. The standard warranty for steering racks is for one year. The mileage terms will vary according to the type of steering system you have. Since a normal rack-and-pinion steering has less moveable parts (add to this the fact that it's usually used for smaller loads), it is usually covered by an unlimited mileage warranty. On the other hand, the more complicated system, like a power steering system, is more susceptible to wear. Therefore, it does not have the same warranty terms as a normal system. Distributors and sellers usually cover 15,000 to 18,000 miles. Repair Guides


Date Published : July 30,2014

Installing a New Steering Rack on Your Power Steering System

Does your wheel feel a little loose? Do you hear thudding and clunking sounds when you drive? Are your tires more worn than they should be? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then there might be something wrong with your steering rack. Before your whole steering system gets worse, replace your steering rack with these easy steps: Difficulty level: Easy Things you'll need:

Jack stands
Brake line wrench set
Power steering fluid
Ratchet and socket set
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Step 1: Lift and secure your car using a jack and jack stands. You will be crawling underneath your vehicle to work on your steering rack, so be sure that your car is properly secured. Also see to it that your wheels are straight and the steering wheel is locked before working on the rack itself.

Step 2: Once you've got a good view of your steering rack, remove the tie rod ends from the steering knuckles using a wrench.

Step 3: Now that you've loosen all the bolts and attachments, locate your power steering lines. It is usually connected to the rack with the brake line wrenches. Since these lines carry a lot of pressure, crack them first before loosening.

Step 4: Remove the bolts from the steering rack and pull this off from the column. Remember that before unbolting the rack from the frame, it should be properly supported with either your hand or a spare set of jack stands.

Step 5: Put your new steering rack in place. Center it before completely installing the rack. Reassemble all the other parts that were removed in steps 2 to 4 in reverse order.

Step 6: Properly secure all bolts and make sure everything is in place before testing your installation job. To test your new steering rack, unlock your steering wheel (while your car is still lifted) and turn the wheels from side to side 10 times. Aside from knowing if you've installed the rack correctly, testing your steering rack will also help work the air out of the power steering system.

  • Thanks for the comprehensive answer resident_heretic. I am however now wondering if it is the steering rack either. Despite the "kick back" in the steering, I have had no instances where I noticed the car moving in a direction that is not inline with the "non kick-back" position of the steering wheel (i.e., At all other times that there is no kick-back), like the quoted text suggests is indicative of a steering rack problem. Just the sound. – user66001 May 17 '16 at 17:20
  • Per Moab's answer, (currently) above, might low power steering fluid (despite the gauge inside the reservoir indicating otherwise), or the associated pump/belt, be a potential cause in your opinion? – user66001 May 17 '16 at 17:21
  • I tend to go with the rack because of the symptoms that seem to indicate a valving issue in the rack itself and confined to one side. Maybe a leaking seal inside. Low fluid, power steering pump and belts would affect both sides equally I would think. – Old_Fossil May 19 '16 at 7:28
  • The whine could be dry or worn serpentine belt and idler pulley going funky on you. – Old_Fossil May 19 '16 at 7:43

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